Venezuela to hold presidential election April 14

By IANS/RIA Novosti,

Moscow: Venezuela will hold a presidential election to elect a successor to late Hugo Chavez April 14, the country’s electoral council said following an extraordinary meeting.

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The council met after Nicolas Maduro, who was vice president under Chavez and sworn in as acting president Friday, instructed the council to set the date for the vote.

Chavez died Tuesday at the age of 58, following a two-year fight against cancer. He had led Venezuela for 14 years.

The late president had named Maduro as his successor before undergoing the latest surgery in December.

The Venezuelan opposition earlier called Maduro’s inauguration “fraudulent” as it argued that under the constitution the National Assembly speaker should be the one to take over as acting president.

However, Venezuela’s Supreme Court ruled Friday that Maduro’s swearing-in would be legitimate.

The inauguration ceremony for Maduro was held hours after Chavez’s state funeral, which was attended by over 30 heads of state and government, including Cuban President Raul Castro, Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko.

Maduro will run as the candidate from the ruling party. Miranda state governor Henrique Capriles will be the opposition’s candidate. Maduro is likely to win the vote, according to opinion polls.

Chavez had defeated Capriles in October’s presidential election.